Shaykh Kabir Helminski on Dervishhood

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

As Shaykh Kabir Helminski said, “A dervish is an apprentice, one who is learning the profession that will provide eternal livelihood.  This profession is still taught in certain schools of higher learning.  While there are many skills that can be self-taught or learned alone, the skills of dervishhood are learned by being in relationship to a shaykh, or a guide, and within a spiritual family, a Sufi circle.  There will always be much to learn on one's own, through one's own efforts, and within one's own understanding.  The final responsibility, of course, lies with ourselves, and, in reality, there is no intermediary between us and our Rabb.  And yet one can no more become a dervish alone that one can become a lover alone.

People will dedicate the whole of their lives to becoming an accomplished musician or a professional athlete.  In doing so they will have to organise the whole of their lives around this one master desire.  A dervish is one who has made Truth his or her master desire and is willing to bring all other desires and aims into alignment with this aim.  It is possible to make Sufism a pastime, one interest among others, but that does not make one a dervish.  It is fine to read widely and become acquainted with various traditions, but to be a Sufi is much more than to have a preference for reading Sufi books or listening to Sufi music.”


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